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Keating Gains IMSA Auto-Invite for 24H Le Mans

Ben Keating secures auto-invite for 24H Le Mans…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Ben Keating is poised to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 class, with confirmation that the Texan is the recipient of IMSA’s second automatic invite for the race.

The ACO confirmed the full list of 14 auto-invites on Monday, listing Keating Motorsports as IMSA’s designated LMP2 entry, alongside the previously announced GTE-Am class invite for Scuderia Corsa.

Keating revealed plans of entering a Riley Mk. 30 Gibson in the French endurance classic, pending invite, and had initially been linked with a potential joint effort with Visit Florida Racing, which had also been seeking an entry with a Riley LMP2 car.

It’s unclear if the two parties will be working together, or Visit Florida will be seeking an entry of its own.

Silver-rated Keating is likely to be joined by longtime co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen at the wheel of the Riley at Le Mans.

The pairing will again team up for a full-season campaign in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Riley Motorsports, but with a new factory supported Mercedes-AMG GT3.

Other recently confirmed auto invites include newly crowned 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series class champions Algarve Pro Racing (LMP2), Tockwith Motorsports (LMP3) and DH Racing (GT).

Entries are conditional on each car being entered in the European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series or WeatherTech Championship. All full-season

FIA World Endurance Championship entries, meanwhile, are given auto invites to Le Mans.

The full list of 60 expected entries for the race will be confirmed on Feb. 2, alongside the full-season entry lists for the WEC and ELMS.

2017 Le Mans 24 Hours Auto Invites:

*Porsche Team: 24H Le Mans victory in LMP1. Invitation in LMP1.
*Signatech Alpine: 24H Le Mans win in LMP2. Invitation in LMP2.
*Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA: 24H Le Mans win in GTE-Pro. Invitation in GTE-Pro.
*Scuderia Corsa: 24H Le Mans win in GTE-Am. Invitation in GTE-Am.
*G-Drive Racing: ELMS LMP2 Champion. Invitation in LMP2.
*Aston Martin Racing: ELMS GTE Champion. Invitation in GTE Pro or Am.
*JMW Motorsport: ELMS GTE Runner-up. Invitation in GTE Pro or Am.
*United Autosports: ELMS LMP3 Champion. Invitation in LMP2.
*Keating Motorsports: IMSA Designated. Invitation in LMP2.
*Scuderia Corsa: IMSA Designated. Invitation in GTE-Am.
*Algarve Pro Racing: Asian LMS LMP2 Champion. Invitation in LMP2.
*DH Racing: Asian LMS GT Champion. Invitation in GTE Pro or Am.
*Tockwith Motorsports: Asian LMS LMP3 Champion. Invitation in LMP2 or GTE-Am.
*TF Sport: Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup Champion. Invitation in GTE-Am

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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